21 Thanksgiving Tips From Me and My Facebook Friends
Every November I try to come up with a collection of Thanksgiving Tips to make everyone’s turkey day just a little bit easier. I love this holiday because it typically brings family and friends together for a big meal and plenty of catching up.
For years, we would travel to my sister and brother-in-laws home in State College, PA where my wife’s sister would put out a huge spread for 20 or more people. For the past few years the location has been moved to our home and as much as we enjoy entertaining, cooking and serving for 20 or more people can be daunting so tips, shortcuts, new ideas are always welcome.
This year I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook for their advice. I asked them to share we me some of their favorite tricks and tips they used over the years to make the day just a little bit more manageable. I’ve combined a bunch of them with a few of my own and now want to share these gems with all of you.
Thanks everyone at Facebook for your great ideas.
Thanksgiving Tip #1 – Plan early. Start thinking now about what you’re serving with your turkey, get your recipes together, and organize your shopping list. – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #2 – Prep that bird the night before. Prep whatever you can the night before. I have pretty much everything go in the oven ready day of. That gives me more time to relax and enjoy my day. – Cissy W.
Thanksgiving Tip #3 – I no longer put the stuffing in the turkey. I make a sausage dressing, add an extra egg, and bake it in the oven. Everyone seems to love it, and there is more to go around. Now, I am less concerned about the bird getting contaminated with stuffing stuck to the carcass. – Sarah P.
Thanksgiving Tip #4 – Avoid the crowds by getting to the supermarket well ahead of the Thanksgiving rush. There’s nothing worse than getting to the market the day before Thanksgiving to find they are sold out of an ingredient you absolutely need. And battling the crowds can be stressful! – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #5 – Consider using your grill to cook the turkey. It allows for more flexibility for side dishes. And it isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds… – Kirsten Z.
Thanksgiving Tip #6 – Im trying stuffing this year in the crock pot!!! I hope it turns out good… at least I dont need the oven space then! – Kim G-C
Thanksgiving Tip #7 – Create a timeline for cooking the food. Work backwards from when you plan on serving the food and don’t forget to include resting times. Doing this will keep you organized and ensure all your food comes out hot. – Max W.
Thanksgiving Tip #8 – Prep or prepare as many dishes as you can before Thanksgiving Day. You’d be surprised at how many dishes you can make or get ready two, three, four days ahead of time. Keep a running list, so you don’t forget to serve anything! – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #9 – I make all my desserts the Saturday before and turn it into a “girls” cook party. All of my girlfriends come over and we double recipes to make 2-4 of everything. The desserts stay fresh in tupperware and it saves the most difficult part of Thanksgiving because multiple people are making up to 8 different desserts instead of one person making all 8. Plus it gives us a chance to see each other and share Thanksgiving so we don’t miss it by spending the actual day with our families. – Cate M.
Thanksgiving Tip #10 – Post-its! I have them everywhere reminding me what time I put things in the oven and when they need to come out. After people laugh at me they admit it’s a good idea. – Lisa S.
Thanksgiving Tip #11 – Clean as you go and make sure the dishwasher is empty for after the meal so you can rinse and put all the china and dishes in there quickly and have time to relax with family and friends after the meal. – Janet V.
Thanksgiving Tip #12 – If you buy a frozen turkey, give yourself enough time to defrost it. It is recommended you thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator, not on your back porch. It takes 2 to 3 days for a 14 pound turkey to defrost in the refrigerator. Plan ahead.- Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #13 – Set the table on Tuesday or Wednesday so you enjoy the process, make it special and get the chore out if the way so you can spend the rest of the time focused on the meal. An extra bonus is that you can get in a festive mood from seeing your beautiful table each time you walk by if! Trust me, it makes the table setting task a joy instead of a chore! – Judi M.
Thanksgiving Tip #14 – Appetizers are important, especially when friends and family arrive hours before the big meal. But clear the appetizers away at least an hour ahead of the big meal so they have some room left! – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #15 – If you are expecting a crowd on Thanksgiving Day and you asked everyone to bring a favorite dish to share, keep track of who’s bring what, so you don’t end up with six versions of peas and no pumpkin pie. – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #16 – Make WAY more stuffing than you think you need (from experience). – Alicia C.
Thanksgiving Tip #17 – Time is a valuable commodity on Thanksgiving, so don’t hesitate to sneak in some store-made items to save time. Homemade stuffing is great and who doesn’t love cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries but to save time, try using a quality commercial substitute….just don’t tell anyone. – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #18 – I loved the stuffing from the turkey but I always have extra to cook in the pan for those not sure of stuffing from the turkey, but I use a thermometer to make sure all is up to the correct temp. – Janet V.
Thanksgiving Tip #19 – Don’t make Thanksgiving a one-person crusade. Involve as many people as you can, including the kids and your cousin in from Minneapolis. Assign a team to set the table, have the little ones design place cards. There’s a lot to do so have plenty of aprons available for friends and family. – Reluctant Gourmet
Thanksgiving Tip #20 – Don’t make turkey if you don’t like it. Don’t make string beans if you don’t like them Don’t make sweet potatoes if you don’t like them. You get my drift. So, the point is; it’s thanksgiving; eat whatever makes you feel good but be gentle with yourself, your family and friends, and most of all, give thanks. – Vicky K.
Thanksgiving Tip #21 – Remember what Thanksgiving is for. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and take some time for yourself to reflect. – Reluctant Gourmet